The hamster is an omnivorous animal with carnivore tendency. So it mainly eats seeds, but has some strict protein requirements. The ideal mixture is with a fat content about 4% for 16% of protein. Protein intake should be higher during growth, during gestation for females, and be decreased at the signs of aging to preserve the kidneys.
As all animals, his diet should be as identical as possible every day. Only the extras may vary. A stable diet is the basis for a healthy hamster.
Very good hamster seed mixes are available everywhere, as well as extruded products (also called stoppers or pellets, they are compressed pieces). It will still be necessary to choose carefully, because some brands are not recommended. As a general rule, the most expensive and colorful packaging are the worst (be careful with sugar intake! Some brands put too much sugar in their mixtures and/or sweets). Feel free to ask breeders or clubs which brands are the best ones. All rodents” mixtures are not generally suitable for any particular species, because each rodent has specific nutritional needs.
You can also mix it yourself, with the help of a person who knows a lot about it (breeder, club…). Be careful to respect all the necessary contributions.
We will check that the hamster finishes its bowl of seeds before putting them back on, to prevent it from sorting and eating only the richest seeds. With extruded products, the problem does not exist, however, some hamsters do not like extruded products and eat less; it happens in rare cases that they become too much skinny. So you have to test and find out what your pet likes best. Don’t forget to check his hiding place(s) before to add more food to him.
It is not necessary to change the mixture too quickly because the hamster has a fragile digestive system. Some breeders
give several mixtures during growth to avoid any future problems, but as a precaution, do always a food transition. Simply mix the two products, one quarter of the new for three quarters of the old one in the first week, then half and half in the second week, and finally a quarter of
The old one for three quarters of the new one in the fourth week. By the fifth week, the animal will eat the new product entirety. The same applies to any new food you give.
Complementary food for Hamsters
A wide range of rodent treats are available on the market, which are very sweet and have a very attractive commercial appearance. These candies can be useful for taming, but should be used with parsimony.
The best and most popular delicacies are vegetables, as well as fruits (in smaller quantities due to natural sugars). Don’t forget to give him some very small pieces, and get him used to a new vegetable gradually. Always remove the excess after an hour or two to avoid that it will not rot. Choose organic foods, or wash them well for pesticides and other products toxic. Don’t forget to give him some very small pieces, and get him used to a new vegetable gradually. Always remove the excess after an hour or two to avoid that it will not rot. Choose organic foods, or wash them well for pesticides and other products toxic. Finally, fresh food should be given at room temperature, not cold. Citrus fruits are not always well tolerated because of their acidity. Not all hamsters necessarily like the same ones fruit or vegetables. You have to test and retain what they like. Dried fruits and vegetables can also be given, plants, herbs and flowers (but not just any!). All fresh herbs must be collected far from the roads and washed thoroughly.
What fruits and vegetables can I give to my Hamster?
Apricot, pineapple, banana, cherry, date, fig, strawberry, raspberry, kiwi, lychee, mango, melon, plum, blackberry, coconut, watermelon, pear, apple, peach, grape, tomato, eggplant, broccoli, carrot, chervil, cucumber, zucchini, endive, spinach, fennel, lentils, peas, peppers, soy sprouts, radishes, chives, watercress, hay, dried nettle, daisy, dandelion, … Parsley should not be given to pregnant and lactating females; it stops the rise of milk.
What extras food can be given?
There are obviously other things than vegetables to give as a sweetmeat. Since the hamster is omnivorous, we can give him cooked, cold, unseasoned meat (for example, chicken breast or ham). A small piece of hard cheese can also be given, although the products as whole dairy products should be ignored because animals do not digest them.
Hamsters appreciate oatmeal (given dry), this intake can be used for hamsters too thin or with stunted growth. It can then be added directly to the seed mixture.
An excellent protein supply, and also a delicacy often much appreciated, is the meal worm (flour worms). They are either dried (sometimes they are mixtures of various insects) or live (that you can leave it in the fridge).
A kibble for cats or dogs from time to time is also a good treat.
Dangerous foods to avoid
In bulk: fruit seeds and stones (contain a cyanide compound), fruit and vegetable peels, stem and tomato leaves, potato, raw beet, pickles, almonds, fruit in syrup, salad, onions and related products (leeks in particular), avocado, cauliflower, chestnut, citrus fruits (often poorly tolerated).
Any drink other than water is harmful or dangerous: alcohol, coffee, soda, tea, syrups, fruit juices, water carbonated, milk (except soy milk) and cocoa. Anything that is sweet or too salty such as cakes, cookies, pie pastes/cakes, aperitif cakes, etc. sausages, salted or braised hams or any other delicatessen, smoked fish, etc.
Chocolate is toxic to all animals (dogs die from it, so imagine the hamster!). It contains theobromine that is not digested by animals. This substance acts on the heart system, which gets out of control and can cause cardiac arrest. There is no antidote, only the symptoms caused by ingestion. That is, if the animal does not have any problems when eating chocolate (too low a dose for example), chocolate is nevertheless addictive, with associated symptoms if the intake is stopped. All products containing cocoa should be avoided.
Raw eggs and white egg are to be avoided; the bacteria present can cause intestinal disorders. The yolk is excellent! Raw meat may contain parasites, but under no circumstances eating raw meat will make your hamster aggressive or biter.
Daily drinks for my hamster
Tap water, if it is drinkable, is perfectly suitable! The water sold “special hamster” is simply very expensive mineral water! If you really want quality water, give him bottled water. Do not add anything to water and do not give milk or others drinks.
If you take medication mixed with water, you can add ONE DRAFT of grenadine so that the hamster does not refuse to drink (only if the hamster does not drink!).
The hamster must always have fresh water available. It is preferable to use bottles sold in store rather than a bowl where you have to change the water very regularly (ideally every 12 hours). Clean the bottle regularly to prevent algae growth.
Coprophagy (the feces eating)
Coprophagia is eating your own stools. The hamster is coprophagous to some extent. He recovers part of his stools directly to supplement the deficiencies in his diet (vitamin B in particular).
The obese hamster
An obese hamster must, for his own good, have a diet. Beware of too fast diets, they would do wither the animal that would develop enormous deficiencies and unfortunately, often impossible to recover.
His diet must be lightened, but with the necessary intakes. Remove nuts, seeds of sunflower, cheese, remember to check the quantities you give. Exercise is an excellent way to make them lose weight, especially for dwarf hamsters. Remember to leave them a wheel at their disposal. For Syrians, there is nothing like a walk in freedom for a few hours a day.
The thin hamster
As with the obese hamster, the diet can not be completely changed from day to day. Remember to add a few sunflower seeds to his diet. You can also give him more cereal. Also, check that he is not ill and does not suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Ideally, add a little oatmeal directly to his seed mixture. The thin dwarf hamsters may have diabetes, so they should be tested for possible treatment adapted.
Feeding of a pregnant female hamster
Enrich his diet with protein (you can double the doses) and give about one and a half times the portion of seeds or extradites. Check the bottle carefully because pregnant females drink a lot.
Be careful, do not fatten a pregnant female, this would have serious repercussions on her health and that of the babies. The diet must remain healthy and balanced.
Because of its anatomy, the hamster is, like all rodents, unable to vomit. A food eaten can cause the death of the animal if it is toxic. What are the signs of intoxication? The hamster is thirsty, agitated, has spasms, … On the way to the vet, you can always give ½ to 1 ml of activated charcoal.